Friday, August 6, 2010
The Root of Fear Salad
The man announced his entrance by loudly criticizing the music which was playing in the independently-owned coffee shop.
"This music is crap, the only people who would like this music are morons." The two young women working behind the counter modestly bent their heads, lowering their nose rings deeper into the tray of organic carrots they were prepping. The man appeared to be completely unaware that he might be insulting someone,
"I mean, I wish I had brought my earplugs. This music is terrible. It's so boring. The only people who would listen to this have to be the most idiotic people on earth."
The quiet whispers of a woman's voice responded to him, but she apparently had been taught social graces and knew that if she were not going to say something nice she should talk in a whisper. I assumed she was encouraging the man, because he continued on giving his opinions about everyone and everything as though he had a captive audience. He was trying to impress her.
When he ran out of things to insult, he would turn to his newspaper and look to the movie listings.
"That movie is such crap, I can't stand American movies."
The woman whispered something back. It was clear from their discussion that she was from another country and had just flown in today. I wondered if she enjoyed his company. Clearly he thought that he was impressing her. If she did like the music, or American movies, or French television, she she certainly couldn't share these things with him. I started to feel sorry for her, then agitated that she was humoring him. She got up to get a glass of water and I noticed that she was not a homely woman, and she appeared to be exhausted by him.
I wondered if he would be as impressed with his opinions if he heard himself on tape. I finished the work that I was doing at the coffee shop, and got up to leave. I looked to their table as I walked out, and his eyes caught mine. He had gray hair combed neatly back, and deep wrinkles in his forehead. He looked absolutely terrified. He looked like a young boy trapped in an old man's body. For a moment, I thought that it was my job to try to talk some sense into them both. Then I realized that I was not here to be the tape recorder for them. They were the mirror for me.
I smiled at them both and walked out.
The Root of Fear Salad
5 medium carrots, shredded in food processor
1 small daikon radish, peeled and shredded in food processor
2 small green onions
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp ume plum vinegar
1 tsp soy sauce
adjust to taste
garnish with fresh celery leaves.
Christina's vote: "A good solid crunch"